In today’s digital world, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a key player in getting websites noticed and visited by online users. Whether you’re new to the field or an experienced SEO pro, understanding the essential SEO interview questions is a must. In this article, we’ll explore Top 17 SEO Interview Questions most commonly asked that you might encounter during interviews. These questions cover the basics and latest trends in SEO, making it easier for you to grasp the essentials.

Top 17 SEO Interview Questions The Most Commonly Asked

1. What is SEO and why is it important?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the process of improving a website so that it ranks higher in the unpaid/organic search results on search engines like Google, Bing, etc. The better optimized a site is, the higher it will rank for keywords and phrases that are relevant to the content on the site.

Higher rankings in search results is extremely important for getting traffic to a website. The majority of people use search engines like Google to find websites and content on the internet. If your website doesn’t rank well, very few people will be able to find and access it through search.

But if you have good SEO practices implemented, your pages will rank higher in the organic results. This means exponentially more opportunities for people to find your site when they search for topics related to your business or offerings. More organic traffic from search can lead to increased brand awareness, more leads and sales, lower marketing costs, and higher revenues overall.

So in summary, SEO helps websites rank better so more people can find you organically. Good SEO leads to higher traffic volumes, lower acquisition costs, and greater visibility for your brand and content. Every business wants their website to rank well in search and be easily discoverable, so investing in solid SEO is extremely important.

2. What are some things you can do on a webpage to make it optimized for SEO?

There are a number of on-page SEO best practices you can implement to make individual webpages optimized for search engines:

  • Incorporate relevant keywords and phrases in strategic places like page titles, headings, meta descriptions, image alt text, URLs, content, etc. This helps search engines understand the topic of the page.
  • Make sure your content is high quality, useful, and written for users, not just jammed with keywords. Search engines can detect keyword stuffing and thin content.
  • Optimize page load speed by compressing images, minifying code, using caching, and streamlining page elements. Faster pages rank better.
  • Ensure your site is mobile-friendly and responsive, serving a great experience on all devices. Most search traffic is now from phones.
  • Include outbound links to external authoritative and useful resources where relevant. This demonstrates valuable content.
  • Structure pages and navigation in a logical, hierarchical manner that’s easy for search bots to crawl.
  • Have a sitemap XML and robot.txt file to guide search engine crawling of your site.
  • Properly use headings, lists, bold/italics, videos, images, tables etc. to structure content for scannability.
  • Perform ongoing SEO-friendly content optimization and site improvements over time.

Following structured on-page best practices like these will make a big difference in search engine visibility and organic traffic for individual webpages.

3. What are some things you can do off the webpage to help with rankings?

While on-page optimization is important, there are also many off-page SEO tactics that can help boost a website’s search rankings:

  • Build high-quality backlinks from relevant external websites, blogs, directories, etc. to signal trust and authority to search engines. But stay away from low-quality link networks or schemes.
  • Be active on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn to generate social signals, shares, engagement, and links back to your content.
  • Create compelling, useful content like blog posts, videos, tools etc. that other websites will want to link to and reference as an external resource. Promote this content through PR and outreach.
  • Engage local SEO tactics like creating Google My Business and Apple Maps listings. Also get listed in key local business directories and citations relevant for your industry.
  • Develop relationships with influencers, partners, and references to build links and referrals. But avoid buying links – focus on organic earned links.
  • Analyze competitor link profiles and opportunities to earn links from the same websites.
  • Build internal links between authoritative pages on your own site to pass “link juice.”
  • Get customer testimonials and brand mentions to build organic links.
  • Participate in link building outreach by connecting with webmasters and bloggers. But personalize pitches and add value.
  • Promote website content through social channels to drive external shares, links, and engagement.
  • Develop a smart 404 page with navigation and site map to help search bots crawl effectively.
  • Disavow toxic backlinks if necessary using Google Search Console.

4. What is “white hat SEO” versus “black hat SEO”?

White hat SEO refers to techniques and strategies that comply with search engine guidelines and move in harmony with how they are intended to work. White hat SEO focuses on building high-quality content, great user experience, and earning links/traffic organically.

Black hat SEO uses unethical shortcuts, tricks, and manipulations to try to artificially boost rankings. This includes tactics like keyword stuffing, hidden text/links, sneaky redirects, link schemes, scraping content, etc. These practices violate search engine guidelines.

While black hat tactics may work briefly, they often result in penalties, bans, and lasting damage to a website’s reputation and visibility. White hat SEO leads to natural, long-term success by playing by the rules search engines want sites to follow.

5. What are some major Google search algorithm updates to know about?

Google periodically releases major algorithm updates that aim to improve search results and fight manipulation/spam. Some key updates to know include:

  • Panda – Targets low-quality content and thin affiliate sites. Rewards in-depth content.
  • Penguin – Targets webspam, manipulative and poor quality links, over-optimization. Rewards quality sites with good links.
  • Hummingbird – Focuses on semantic search, context, meaning over just keywords. Natural language processing.
  • RankBrain – Uses machine learning and AI to better interpret searches and rank pages. One of Google’s first major AI updates.
  • Mobilegeddon – Prioritizes mobile-friendly, responsive sites over desktop-focused. Led to huge shift to mobile SEO.
  • BERT – Better understands language structure and meaning for more intuitive search results. Natural language process update.
  • Page Experience Update – Rewards pages with good mobile load speed, responsive design, HTTPS security, etc. Core web vitals.

Staying current on these updates helps avoid dangerous practices and ensure your SEO strategies align with Google’s evolving algorithm.

6. How can you evaluate how optimized a website currently is?

There are a number of tools and methods you can use to conduct an SEO audit evaluating the current optimization status of a website:

  • Use Google Search Console to see indexed pages, top pages by impressions and clicks, discoverability issues, crawling errors, etc. Gives great insight from Google.
  • Check page speed and mobile-friendliness using Google PageSpeed Insights and Mobile-Friendly Test. Identifies optimization opportunities.
  • Scan website crawlability using Screaming Frog SEO Spider tool to find indexing issues.
  • Analyze internal links and site architecture using Screaming Frog or Ahrefs. Check for broken links.
  • Review indexed keywords and ranking positions using SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Moz for ranking health.
  • Check for duplicate content issues using Copyscape.
  • Evaluate quality of current backlink profile using Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz. Quantity, relevance, authority metrics.
  • Check social media engagement and shares counts on website content.
  • Review user experience on site by running tests on mobile vs. desktop. Check loading speed.
  • Try searching for your own site by keyword to see current rankings subjectively.
  • Review keyword targeting and optimization using tools like Surfer SEO. See how competitors rank for core terms.
  • Check security and malware using Google Safe Browsing tool.

Regularly auditing with tools like these will give you a 360 view of current SEO health and areas that need improvement.

7. How can Google Analytics help with SEO?

Google Analytics provides a wealth of data to inform your SEO efforts:

  • See the keywords and phrases that are driving traffic to your site from organic search. Optimize for ones that are high-value.
  • Analyze landing pages to see which rank well and could be further optimized for target keywords.
  • View pages that have high bounce rates and fix content/UX issues. Lower bounce helps SEO.
  • Check your site speed metrics. Optimizing page load times can directly improve rankings.
  • See your top content pages. Double down on promoting and optimizing pages that perform well.
  • Check mobile vs desktop performance. Improve sitewide mobile optimization.
  • See your SEO content gaps based on search terms people used to find your site. Create content for missed keywords.
  • Look at geographic performance to optimize for local SEO if needed.
  • Check conversions from organic search to improve SEO ROI.

Leverage the treasure trove of intel in Google Analytics to constantly inform and improve your SEO efforts for better rankings and traffic.

8. Why is local SEO important for businesses?

For companies dependent on local customers, local SEO is critical for being discoverable. It helps you rank better when people search for local products/services on Google.

Optimizing for local search results in more store visits, calls, directions requests, and sales from nearby searchers. People often search for “pizza places nearby” or “plumber in Chicago” etc.

Local SEO focuses on tactics like optimizing Google My Business listing, website content for city/region, earning local links/citations, building localized reviews and social profiles.

Appearing in the map pack for local searches should be a priority. This drives visits from searchers who intend to buy locally or visit a nearby business. Ranking higher increases local visibility.

Overall, optimizing for local search helps connect businesses with more ready-to-buy customers in their geographic area. It provides amazing ROI for location-based businesses.

9. Any tips for researching keywords to target?

Start by brainstorming a list of relevant keywords for your content and products/services. Think about words users would type to find your business.

Use keyword research tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs or Google Keyword Planner to see search volume data for these terms. Identify high-traffic keywords to focus on.

Review the competition for each keyword as well. Only target phrases you can realistically rank for based on competitor strength.

Look at keyword difficulty using Moz’s Keyword Explorer. Harder keywords require more links and authority to rank for.

Group keywords into relevant themes or pillars to make content optimization easier. Create pages targeting each topic cluster.

Expand exact keywords into long-tail variations for easier ranking potential. Optimize pages for both short and long-tail forms.

Research keywords related to your important pages and service offerings to find optimization opportunities.

10. What is meant by “technical SEO” and why does it matter?

Technical SEO refers to behind-the-scenes website optimization to ensure search engines can properly crawl, index, and understand your content.

This includes foundational elements like site speed, mobile responsiveness, SSL security implementation, proper URL structures, crawling directives like robots.txt, internal linking architecture, duplicate content prevention, alt text on images, and structured markup like schema.

Technical optimization creates the SEO infrastructure for search bots to easily digest your site. It also provides a better user experience to reduce bounce rate.

Technical SEO is the necessary groundwork that supports ranking gains from content creation and link building efforts. It ensures search engines and visitors can access your site as intended.

Neglecting technical SEO can significantly hinder visibility. Core web vitals like site speed are heavily weighted ranking factors. Technical issues directly prevent search engine traffic.

Top 17 SEO Interview Questions

11. If you wanted a page to rank for a specific keyword, what are some things you could do?

The most important on-page factors to optimize a page for a target keyword include:

  • Make sure the keyword appears in the page title and H1 heading. These have significant weight.
  • Use the keyword naturally in the page content, meta description, image alt text, internal links anchor text, URL, etc.
  • Include supplementary keywords and semantic variations to support the main term.
  • Optimize images and videos on the page with descriptive filenames and ALT tags incorporating the term.
  • Link out to external resources related to the keyword theme to demonstrate authority.
  • Structure content using headings, lists, etc. to facilitate skimming and SEO readership.
  • Create supplemental blog posts and internal links to support the primary keyword-focused page.
  • Check that URL structure includes the keyword but is succinct and readable.
  • Include relevant structured data markup like schema to aid understanding.
  • Optimizing an authoritative, useful page focused around a target phrase is key for ranking for that specific term.

12. What’s the difference between direct and organic search traffic?

Direct traffic comes from people typing your website URL directly into the browser or clicking a link from somewhere like email or social media.

Organic search traffic comes from unpaid search engine results. When people search relevant keywords, your content can surface organically if it ranks well for those terms.

Direct traffic takes people straight to your site but requires prior awareness. Organic traffic reaches new audiences organically via search engines, but relies on strong SEO to generate volume.

Organic search provides massive opportunity for new traffic and growth. But it must be earned through keyword targeting, link building, and search engine optimization.

13. What is crawl budget and why is it important?

Crawl budget refers to the number of pages Googlebot can crawl from a domain based on server resources and website performance.

If your site is slow, cluttered, or has barriers to crawling, Google will assign a smaller crawl budget, indexing fewer pages. This limits possible ranking presence.

A large, optimized website with fast server response times signals to Google the ability to handle greater crawling capacity. This results in a more generous crawl budget.

Having enough crawl budget for search bots to index all important pages of your site is hugely important for SEO visibility and traffic.

You can optimize crawl budget by speeding up servers, implementing crawling directives, eliminating duplicate/thin content, improving site architecture through sitemaps, fixing technical errors, and overall creating an SEO-friendly infrastructure.

14. What are some bad SEO practices to avoid?

Avoid black hat tactics like keyword stuffing, hidden text/links, shady redirects, sneaky doorways, spammy guest posts, paid links, scraped or auto-generated content, and link schemes. These will likely trigger search engine penalties.

Don’t create thin affiliate content just for monetization or duplicate existing content across domains. Search engines value unique, high-quality content.

Be wary of hiring questionable SEO agencies that use gray hat or risky strategies. This can harm your site’s reputation and visibility long-term.

Don’t ignore core web vital factors like site speed, security, responsiveness and user experience. Search engines increasingly focus on these.

Avoid buying expired domains or DOMAIN_I’s with sketchy backlink profiles. Do proper due diligence on domains.

Stop over-optimizing and focus on creating content for users, not just jamming in keywords. Search engines can detect unnatural optimization.

Overall, stick to ethical white hat tactics aligned with search engine guidelines. Sustainable SEO success comes from playing by the rules.

15. How can you check if a site is mobile-friendly?

Run the site through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, which analyzes elements like viewport, tap targets, font size, and layout.

Check speed and UX with PageSpeed Insights on mobile vs. desktop. Mobile site performance is critical.

Try browsing the site on a mobile device. If content is cut off, fonts tiny, or hard to navigate, it’s not mobile-friendly.

Monitor site analytics to see if majority of users are on mobile. Mobile-friendliness is key to support mobile traffic.

Test different mobile browsers and devices. Issues on one may not appear on another. Be comprehensive.

If site is not mobile-optimized, prioritize changes like responsive design, eliminating plug-ins, simplified navigation, etc.

16. What are some useful SEO tools you’d recommend?

Google Search Console for crawl errors, performance reports, manual actions. Free essential SEO tool.

Google Analytics for organic acquisition reports, landing pages, keyword data. Free powerful intel.

PageSpeed Insights and Mobile-Friendly Test for optimization checks. Free from Google.

Ahrefs and Semrush for keyword research, backlink analysis, content audit and SEO optimization.

Screaming Frog for crawling site to identify technical SEO issues.

Surfer SEO for on-page optimization recommendations.

Moz Tools like Keyword Explorer for ideas, metrics and rank tracking.

Pingdom and GTMetrix for page speed tests.

XML Sitemaps Generator to improve crawling.

These tools provide comprehensive insight into SEO strategy and tactics.

17. How can you stay updated on SEO?

Read SEO blogs and industry news sites like Search Engine Journal, Moz Blog, Search Engine Land and SEMrush blog.

Follow key experts on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Check Google webmaster blog and help center for algorithm updates.

Attend SEO and marketing webinars and conferences.

Listen to SEO podcasts like Search Engine Journal and The SEO Show.

Join Facebook groups and forums like /r/seo and WebmasterWorld.

Subscribe to SEO newsletters like Search Engine Roundtable, SEMrush, and Moz.

Set up Google Alerts for SEO and your company name.

Staying current on best practices is key for SEO success amid constant change.


In wrapping up, learning these 17 SEO interview questions is not only a way to prepare for job interviews but also a valuable step toward becoming proficient in the dynamic realm of digital marketing.

By Coder